There were people everywhere, and the noise was fantastic. We were in our element, and we were having fun. A huge, rubber duck kept eye over the whole scene and was almost too good to be true, Then, like a sirens song, sweet, tempting and magnetic, we saw the sign. A casino, The Lord does work in mysterious ways. We walked in, cold beer in hand, bought some chips, and the next thing you know Charlie Daniel's was singing "Trudy" as my own private soundtrack. "Had a powerful thirst and six months pay... poured down a bottle and a half of redeye, dropped thirty five dollars in the slot machine, the boys in the back was a dealin' seven card, sat down and won me a hundred and ten." This was back when he used to sing about drinking and gambling, and fun stuff, before he started singing about faith and duty, and obligation, and other stuff, not so fun. Charlie, and I had come this far, it was time to gamble.
Susan sat down at the Black Jack table. Black Jack is a brutal game of statistic probability, with well defined guidelines and procedures, almost like a computer routine, "If this... then that." A game perfectly suited to a person with a keen grasp of numbers, a memory of frightening accuracy, and the discipline and ability to think logically, and reasonably. Someone like Susan. Me, I am an instinct gambler, playing to gut feelings, living by my wits, using the primal, ancient, sense of the universe that kept our ancestors alive in times of great peril, before they even knew what math was. But, I grabbed twenty dollars worth of chips and took the open seat to Susan's left.
Soon, it was obvious Susan might be on to something. Again, to paraphrase the inestimable Charlie Daniels, "Susan was raking in chips like Grant took Richmond." While my pile was getting smaller and more pitiable. But, Susan was there with a kind voice, and friendly advice.
I had 17 and the dealer was showing a 6. She said, gently and politely, that it would be the smart move to stay, and not take a card. But, my spidey senses were tingling, the ancient sense of self preservation was telling me the next card was a 4, generations of survival of the fittest was sure the next card was a 4. Should I listen to Susan or thousands of years of hard won intuition, science or survival? The answer was obvious. Hit me, I almost screamed. I was going to take a stand, and show the whole table how to use your senses, and free yourself from the chains of mathematics, I would not be reducing myself to a tick in a box on a questionnaire, this was going to be a victory for the individual., that society, and math teachers are so busy trying to suffocate.
Come on Mr. Dealer Man, show the world my 4, add my cards up to 21 and shower me with riches. He turned the card over, tossing it on my pile SIX, aaaargh, dammit, how did this happen??? I went over and the dealer drew a 4 for twenty, Susan had 21 so he took my chips and moved them to her pile. And she said, kindly, "see, if you would not have taken that card the dealer would had 22 and you would have won."
And, briefly, I saw myself, confronting the dealer, as the next line from "Trudy" says so eloquently, "I accused him of cheatin' he reached for a pistol, I grabbed a chair and went upside of his head. Then I took off runnin' like a motorcycle, heard the bullets whine and the sirens wail." But, he seemed like such a nice, little old man, and he actually gave me a chip when I was down on my luck, before my wife rescued me with another twenties worth. And it was not his fault I lost, it was years of evolution, and the complacency of modern conveniences had dulled my senses, or maybe my ancestors were all having a good laugh at my expense. I will have to research this a bit further before I know who to blame.
Later, one of our party of partiers bought some carnival ride tickets and went on a harrowing, terrifying, death defying ride, that will be covered in another post, as soon as the trauma subsides.
It made a perfect teaching opportunity when we got home, when my sons asked how I did, my wife told them she thought I had lost, a little, and said, "that is why they call it gambling, unless it is your dad, then they call it donating."
We had a blast, I think this should go in the fond memories file, what do you think?